Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Preclinical Imaging Facility

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Preclinical Imaging

The Preclinical Imaging core facility provides researchers in the Methodist and the Texas Medical Center community access to resources, services, and expertise necessary to perform multimodality imaging studies on preclinical study models, including PET, SPECT, CT, MRI/MRS, ultrasound, and optical imaging. Available resources include the Inveon Dedicated PET System and the Inveon Multimodality SPECT/CT system (Siemens Medical Solutions), the Caliper IVIS-200 system, and the Maestro in vivo fluorescence imaging System. Depending on the application, the core will provide users with full technical operation, comprehensive training, assistance with experimental design and data analysis, and ongoing research support.


Investigators are encouraged to contact Dr. Zheng-Zheng Shi (zshi@houstonmethodist.org) with any questions regarding the TMHRI Preclinical Imaging Core.



The facility houses an operation suite and two imaging modules. The first imaging module houses a Siemens Inveon platform that provides integrated PET, SPECT, and CT imaging and analysis. An IVIS200 Bioluminescence/Fluorescence imaging system and a Maestro system have been installed in the second module.



Inveon Integrated Preclinical PET/SPECT/CT


The two Siemens Inveon systems, Dedicated PET (dPET) and Multi-Modality System (MM), together function in three modes: PET, SPECT, and CT with integration capabilities for in-line fusion imaging. Inveon features state-of-the-art PET resolution (= 1.4 mm) and sensitivity, advanced multi-pinhole SPECT collimators for improved sensitivity and spatial resolution, high resolution CT analysis and real-time image reconstruction. The dPET and MM modules can be used as stand-alone imaging systems, respectively, and can also be docked forming an integrated preclinical imaging system, controlled with the Inveon Acquisition Workplace (IAW), for combined in-line PET/CT, SPECT/CT, or PET/CT/SPECT imaging. The flexibility of this system permits a wide range of imaging capabilities including anatomic, dynamic, and other functional modalities.


IVIS200 in vivo bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging


The Preclinical Imaging Core operates the Xenogen IVIS200 System (now PerkinElmer). The IVIS200 can be used to image both bioluminescence and fluorescence non-invasively in living preclinical study models, and to perform quantitative in vitro and in vivo assays using reporter cells tagged with a wide range of bioluminescent or fluorescent probes. The scanner has an integrated fluorescence system (400–900 nm) that allows easy switching between fluorescent and bioluminescent spectral imaging applications, and a laser scanner that provides 3D surface topography for single-view diffuse tomographic reconstructions of internal sources. It is also equipped with excitation and emission filters for GFP, DsRed, Cy5.5, and ICG in addition to a set of four background filters for subtraction of auto-fluorescence. IVIS200 in vivo bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging


 Maestro in vivo fluorescence imaging system

The CRi/Caliper Maestro system is equipped with unique multispectral tunable optics which enables multiplexed in vivo fluorescence imaging with unprecedented sensitivity. Maestro offers users the capability of removing autofluorescence emitted from images of skin and other tissues to reveal otherwise hard-to-detect labeled targets. The Maestro system can detect, measure, and track multiple fluorophores inside the body in real time.

IVIS200 in vivo bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging